Idealism is charming as long as it doesn't let naivete dilute it. Nagaram Nidra Potunna Vela is one of those "activist" films that wants to showcase the muck in society and send out a loud call for action. While it is undeniably a film with both a purpose and a large heart, it allows itself to sink into mediocrity, and then sinks further in.
It is the kind of flick, which, after spending 2.5 hours analyzing the complex web of corruption ingrained in our political system, wraps it up all with a scene that shows a mob killing the politicians with machetes and swords.
Niharika (Charmme) is an earnest TV reporter who wants to use journalism to benefit society, and has to deal with a boss who insists on making money through "sensational news". Humiliated by her boss, she decides to do a story on what happens in the city at night, and ventures out on her beat.
She is taken aback by the city out there, as she discovers the existence of pubs, booze, drugs and prostitution. However, her problems started even before she started from home that night - in her bag is a pen-camera that contains incriminating evidence against a top politician.
There also exists in the script, for no major reason except to mouth a few cynical lines about society, an alcoholic (Jagapathi Babu) who Niharika makes friends with during her night out. One misadventure after another, Niharika finds herself in the midst of a flaring political drama played by evil scheming netas.
The makers have tried to wrestle with a bunch of issues with Nagaram Nidra Potunna Vela, but none of them sees a fitting conclusion. Even though the script boasts of some good dialogues and interesting observations (although we did find a line copied from Vedam
), the overall feel to the movie is that of B-grade cinema.
Nagaram Nidra... is predictably pessimistic about the "evils of society". The vision of pubs as a haven for the drug-starved; and of a city being an open red-light area teeming with sleazy eve-teasers and sleazier policemen is unrealistic. There's also an Anna Hazare style dharna at a Gandhi statue and a subsequent police lathicharge worked into the script, all with sorry consequences.
Charmme is a good actress, with a very real quality about her, and whether she does films like these out of choice or compulsion, we'll never know - but she should get back in action in the top league. Jagapathi Babu, too, should start doing better films.
Ahuti Prasad is in an easy role as Niharika's boss, and a few other actors do a good job as well. Chandramohan surprises all with his brief appearance as a highly ethical politician. The cast includes a sizeable number of amateur actors.
The songs have been worked hard at, and a few of them sound good, especially the semi-classical number with Charmme's dance steps. The visuals are mostly average.
In all, this one is a film that can boast of having intended to be different, but intent is never the sole breadwinner of a product.